PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- While his Mets teammates packed their bags and departed Spring Training on Thursday, Steven Matz was already in New York absorbing the details of his latest medical setback. An MRI on Matz's left elbow revealed no structural damage, but doctors instructed him to refrain from
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- While his Mets teammates packed their bags and departed Spring Training on Thursday, Steven Matz was already in New York absorbing the details of his latest medical setback. An MRI on Matz's left elbow revealed no structural damage, but doctors instructed him to refrain from throwing for three weeks. Matz will not be on the Opening Day roster, and realistically he will not be able to pitch in a big league game until May at the earliest.
Matz, who first complained of elbow soreness following a March 22 game against the Marlins, received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow.
"I don't know if I have the words for it," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I'm disappointed. For two years, we've talked about this rotation that -- if you could keep them healthy -- is second to none from start to finish. We have five guys with legitimate No. 1-, No. 2-type of stuff. So I'm very disappointed that his arm flared up on him."
Due to health issues, the five pitchers that Collins referenced -- Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Matz and Zack Wheeler -- have never all appeared in the rotation at the same time. Matz in particular has struggled through injuries, most recently undergoing surgery last September to remove a bone spur from his elbow.
The Mets do not know if Matz's latest setback is related to that operation, but they do know it opened rotation spots for both Wheeler and Robert Gsellman. The trickledown also assured that either Rafael Montero or Seth Lugo will earn a spot in the Opening Day bullpen, with the other heading to Triple-A Las Vegas to stretch out as a starter.
Medical issues colored most of the Mets' final roster decisions. In addition to Matz, third baseman David Wright and outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares are slated to open the season on the 10-day disabled list.
Lagares, who is nursing a strained left oblique, was able to run and swing a bat before camp broke Thursday. But he didn't "feel quite right," according to general manager Sandy Alderson, prompting the Mets to award his roster spot to Michael Conforto -- their only healthy bench option with center-field experience. When Collins called Conforto into his office to tell him the news, he promised the 24-year-old outfielder regular at-bats off the bench.
"Any role I have to play, I'll play," Conforto said. "I just want to win ballgames and see how far we can take this thing this year."
Ty Kelly won the fifth and final spot on New York's bench, alongside Conforto, Rene Rivera, T.J. Rivera and Wilmer Flores. Josh Edgin, who is out of options, will join Josh Smoker, Hansel Robles, Jerry Blevins, Noel Salas, Addison Reed and either Lugo or Montero in the bullpen.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.